Sony, in a patent published recently, suggests it’s planning to feature blockchain technology in games in the future. That patent, which was filed by the company back in 2021, specifically lists a system and method that will track “digital assets,” and employs language commonly associated with blockchain-related products such as non-fungible tokens (NFTs). In relation to video games, the patent’s description refers to digital assets as in-game items such as characters. Interestingly, it also lists digital media that represents a game, such as a trailer or photo.
The patent, which Eurogamer first spotted, is called “Tracking Unique In-Game Digital Assets Using Tokens on a Distributed Ledger,” and it seems Sony is using “digital assets” as a broad term to include a range of possible token-tracked items.
In the patent, Sony says these assets may include anything from characters and in-game items to specific moments captured via screenshots and video grabs. If there was any doubt that the patent referred to NFTs and blockchain technology, the remaining description in the patent puts that to rest.
“A unique token for the digital asset can include a unique identifier and metadata identifying properties of the digital asset,” reads the general description. “Changes to properties of the digital asset, such as ownership, visual appearance, or metadata, can be identified in a request to update the history.”
While the patent is definitely blockchain related, the concept of “digital collectibles” outside of the NFT and blockchain space is not new to Sony. The company recently launched a loyalty program known as PlayStation Stars, which provides digital representations of items from video games.
Considering that the patent was applied for in May 2021 when there was increasing public interest in NFTs, and that there is currently no official announcement from the company on its plans, it is unclear if there are any ongoing developments on NFTs in video games from Sony.